Cristiano Ronaldo is set to become the most capped international player of all time when Portugal faces Liechtenstein in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers. Prior to the game, Ronaldo addressed his Manchester United departure and the possibility of retiring after the world cup exit, publicly for the first time.
Ronaldo stated in a press conference before the match against Liechtenstein that his departure from Manchester United after his second run as a player was a bad phase of his career and that he was not happy with how things ended. However, he also expressed his gratitude for the support he received from the fans, and said that he would always have fond memories of his time at the club.
Ronaldo’s comments have been met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. Some have praised him for his honesty and humility in acknowledging his mistakes, while others have criticized him for not taking full responsibility for his role in the situation.
The Portuguese international, who is currently participating in two Euro 2024 qualifying matches for his nation, left United in January after being shunned for his criticism of the team and manager Erik ten Hag in an interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo said that the experience has made him a better man, and that bad experiences, referring to the backlash he received from fans worldwide after leaving Manchester united, are a part of life, which one must not regret.
Ronaldo also said that such experiences are important, and he is grateful to go through such difficult times as they show who is truly on someone’s side and who is not, he proceeded by saying that the period following his departure from Manchester United was difficult both personally and professionally. Ronaldo also talked about him strongly considering retirement after the Qatar World Cup exit, but he decided against it after having discussions with his family.
Ronaldo Returns to International Team as Portugal Hires Roberto Martinez as Manager
Ronaldo is back with the international team for the first time following their loss to Morocco in the quarterfinals of the Qatar World Cup. meanwhile, Portugal hired Roberto Martinez as a replacement for the long-time manager, Fernando Santos who left the team following their World Cup exit.
Santos left the team amid the controversy surrounding Ronaldo’s benching during the tournament’s knockout round in Qatar, but the former Real Madrid star insisted that it was time to put the past behind them as they attempted to reach the European Championship in Germany the following summer.
During his eight years as Portugal’s coach, Santos guided the squad to the Euro 2016 championship, the nation’s first major trophy, and the 2019 Nations League crown. He and the federation came to an agreement allowing him to resign two years before his contract was set to expire.
After Belgium’s unexpected World Cup group-stage exit, Martinez concluded his six-year association with the Belgian national team. When he arrived, he promised to honor Ronaldo’s national team heritage and announced that Ronaldo would be one of the team captains.
Martinez will take over a team that has excellent players like Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota, Goncalo Ramos, and Joao Felix in addition to Ronaldo. Few changes were made by the coach, who also brought back 40-year-old defender Pepe to play with 38-year-old Ronaldo.
Portugal has won six and drawn one of their seven encounters with Liechtenstein without losing. Diogo Costa, the goalkeeper for Porto, was replaced by Vitoria Guimaraes player Celton Biai on Wednesday due to a muscular ailment. Iceland, Slovakia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina are also in Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifying group. Each of the top two nations from the ten groups advances to the final.